Coin Hunter

Is packaging coins wasteful in 2022?

Reducing packaging is very important and has been embraced by companies around the world – as a small part of what is required to slow down and eventually reverse the damage to our planet.

The food industry is a main contributor to packaging waste – but we have all seen our "throw away packaging" shrink in recent years.

Whilst packaging of food in many cases is necessary from a health and safety perspective, there are big savings in terms of unnecessary packaging that could and should be considered.

Coin packaging – is there a better way?

The introduction of coin cards in 2014 was a great first step – The Royal Mint allowed official partners who spent enough (about £5 million) on Royal Mint packaged coins – to receive unpackaged coins – as long as they would be placed in approved packaging before being sold.

HM Treasury do have requirements in place to ensure coins struck at a higher standard than circulation are sold in suitable packaging in an attempt to reduce the number that enter circulation.

As The Royal Mint use about 8 times more packaging per coin than The Westminster Collection (based on average packaging weight) – you can see that it's very easy to make a big difference in packaging waste for non-food items.

The reality of coin packaging waste

The Royal Mint packaging does provide relevant information as well as related images – customers paying about twice as much for a 50p coin pack are unlikely to remove the coin and dispose of the colour printed card – although they may remove the outer plastic wrapping (landfill in areas that cannot recycle plastic wrap).

In a survey carried out by Coin Hunter – the vast majority of collectors buying Royal Mint packaged coins will never break the outer plastic seal (as this can reduce future resale value).

In these cases, the wording and images inside the card as well as the obverse of the coin are never seen – effectively wasting the materials and environmental cost of production.

As a responsible company looking to do all we can to minimise waste and reduce our carbon footprint – Coin Hunter Limited would make the following changes to packaging sold by The Royal Mint.

  1. Complete removal of the outer plastic wrap
  2. Reduce the amount of card, printing and glue used by 75% - i.e. the Jane Austen £2 coin pack had 8 sides – this could be replaced by 2 sides and include a QR code on the back that links to a digital version of the full packaging.

Note: The digital version would also benefit the visually impaired – with zoom and screen read available.

A change for the better

The Royal Mint and HM Treasury have a long history – but both would now benefit from looking forward more often than they look back.

With agreement from HM Treasury – the requirement for wasteful coin packaging could be reduced.

As an example – whilst the coin cards use much less card and plastic and create less CO2 during production – a much larger percentage are thrown away as collectors often remove the coins to place in a coin capsule instead. (Many consider the coin is better protected from toning as packaging and glue used could result in premature discolouration).

Here at Coin Hunter, we estimate that tens of thousands of glue backed cards and plastic blisters end up in the bin or recycling box every year.

This would all stop now if HM Treasury would allow sale of loose BU coins – the seller could then place the coins in small paper envelopes for the customer to choose how they store the coin.

After all – most people won't buy a 50p coin for £5 and then spend it in a shop at face value – and if they really want to waste money in the same way companies produce packaging waste – glue and card would not be an effective deterrent.